Billboard #1s for the Week Ending January 16, 1982

This week’s Time Capsule!





Hot 100 Physical Olivia Newton-John


R & B Let’s Groove Earth, Wind & Fire


Country I Wouldn’t Have Missed It For the World Ronnie Milsap


Adult Contemporary Yesterday’s Songs Neil Diamond


Rock Centerfold J. Geils Band


Album 4 Foreigner


This week sees an interesting tale of pop persistence debut on the Hot 100. British synthpop duo Soft Cell recorded a somewhat improbable cover of Tainted Love, the Ed Cobb song originally recorded by Gloria Jones in 1965. The song went to #1 in the UK and was that country’s biggest-selling single of 1981. Coming in at #90 on the Hot 100 this week in 1982, the single had a long, torturous trip to its US peak. It eased up to #64 then dropped all the way to #100 in its seventh week, sneaking back to #64 in its 11th week. After creeping up a bit it stalled out at #48, then rejuvenated, finally entering the Top 40 at #39 in its 19th week on the charts (May 22, 1982). Finally hitting its stride, the single moved up the charts steadily, breaking into the Top 10 in week 26 and peaking at #8 on July 17, its 27th week. It is worth noting that few songs spent 20 weeks or more on the charts at all, much less peaking this late. Even on its way down the charts, Tainted Love was unpredictable, pausing at #17 and finally leaving the Top 40 in its 31st chart week. Before bowing out for good, it spent a bizarre five weeks at #97, finally departing after a record-breaking 43 weeks on the charts. This record stood until the late 90s, well after the SoundScan era had reinvented chart performance. Sadly for Soft Cell, they remained hitless in the US after this, a true One Hit Wonder.


About Robert Hulshof-Schmidt
Freelance writer, researcher, online comic vendor, and project manager. Fan of a wide range of music -- especially folk and 80s pop -- vintage comics, British TV, and LGBT fiction.

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